Microbiologics Blog

The Teacher Who Inspired My Career in Science

by Brian Beck | Uncategorized | 1 comment

a great science teacher inspires essay

Publish Date: May 11, 2017

Our professional careers are the result of careful planning, hard work and some luck. We all recognize influential people in our past that have contributed positively to our career choice and successes. I have been fortunate to have multiple career advisers, however, my earliest and most important mentor was a high school teacher named Spencer Reames.

At the time, Mr. Reames was an instructor of a number of biology courses including microbiology.  I recall being amazed at the prevalence of microorganisms in our environment and that bacteria were both harmful and beneficial. My interest in genetically manipulating microbes to understand and influence their physiology led me to pursue a microbiology degree in college, and from there I was on my way to an exciting career.

I am certain that many scientists can trace their own career choices to influential teachers that ignited a passion for scientific discovery and critical thinking. In recognition of National Teacher Appreciation Week ( #ThankATeacher ), I thought it fitting to interview my high school microbiology teacher and ask how his perspective on early science education has evolved over 49 years of service.

a great science teacher inspires essay

Mr. Reames with a future scientist.  Photo credit: Dan Robinson, Kenton Times

BB : How many students have you taught over your 49 year career?

SR: I believe that I have had around 3,500 students during that time.

BB: What motivates you to keep teaching?

SR: At this point, I cannot picture myself not teaching and working with students. This year, I have a freshman that I am working with on his science project.  He told me that he wants to take one of my classes because he would be the third generation in his family to have classes under me. In the past, I have had students ask me not to retire until they graduate. These are usually the students doing research projects.

Getting to 50 years of teaching is also motivating. I believe I will have taught the longest of any Benjamin Logan teacher.  My greatest motivation is working with the students and helping them be successful.

BB: How did you get your start in biology? What led you to a career as a biology teacher?

SR: My start in biology came at a very young age. When I was a child, I spent a lot of time outdoors. I collected insects, rocks and crayfish. I had a group that I went exploring with. We would make sandwiches, get a canteen of water, back pack, jars and minnow buckets and head to a stream to explore. It was great fun and I remember some of those events as if they happened yesterday. I loved observing and collecting during these trips.

Even though I lived in town I raised rabbits, had a rooster and trained a pigeon during my childhood. During grade 8, I had Mr. Marmon for Ohio history and science.  I admired him a great deal, and because of his inspiration I decided I wanted to teach science or history. I was lucky to have great science teachers while in high school and that stimulated me to continue with my dreams of being a teacher.

BB: How have advancements in technology impacted how students learn in biology classes?

SR: Technology is not a silver bullet for education, but it is a tool that opens whole new worlds to students. For instance, we were talking about retinal diseases in genetics and some questions came up. We went to the Mendelian Inheritance in Man site and checked out what was known about some of the diseases. This could not have happened a few years ago.

However, not everything is open to students over the internet. Many journal articles are not available without paying an exorbitant amount because we do not belong to a service which allows us to search journals. In general, there is ready access to a great deal of information that has not been available to students in the past.

BB: Have you noticed a change in students’ interests related to biology (e.g. interest in forensics from popular TV shows)?

SR: Yes, popular culture does influence student interests. Due to TV programs, many high schools have started forensic science classes. We are going to have such a class for the first time in our school next year. The CRISPR experiment that we did was in part the result of readings done in class and the interest that students showed. You also see these trends in science fair projects in that you often see projects that relate to hot topics in the news.

BB: How have the advancements made in the field of biology changed how you teach over the years?

SR: When I started teaching biology just about every teacher had their students do a number of dissections in order to look at different phylogenetic groups.  With the exception of the anatomy and physiology class, I have not had students do dissections for a number of years. If we wish to show relationships between groups, we use protein electrophoresis to look at protein patterns or isozymes.

Instead of talking about DNA we extract it, do restriction fragment analysis and transformations. Just recently we did a CRISPR experiment in which the students edited a protein on one of the ribosome subunits. The way biology is taught today has changed significantly since I started teaching. The changes in teaching are as amazing as the advancements in science.

BB: What is your philosophy/approach to engaging and motivating students?

SR: I try to find out what the students are interested in and relate what we are doing to that. I also try to relate topics to what is currently happening in the world.  The CRISPR experiment that we did came about as the result of discussions on what is happening in the research world. Whenever possible, I like the students to do laboratory activities since this helps them tie pieces of the puzzle and concepts together.

I also like to acknowledge improvement. In some cases students struggle in a class and when they make advancements and improvements, that needs to be acknowledged. This often motivates students to continue working hard.

BB: I remember you encouraging your students to conduct hands-on, student designed experiments for science fairs and other projects. Why do you think this is a valuable approach?

SR: I think the projects are very important learning and teaching opportunities. The projects help students understand how new knowledge is gained and that it is not always a direct route from a question to a result. They learn to question approaches taken and the results obtained.

Students often learn what they are really interested in and what career areas they want to pursue. A large number of the students that really got into their projects have gone on to have careers in science or medicine. A few years ago one of my colleagues asked a senior what she thought was her most important experience in high school and she said it was working on her project in the lab. When she was asked why, she told him that it changed the way she thought. This young lady had struggled with her project and had to work out the techniques she used. She learned to constantly question and double check her results, and to design experiments to ensure she was on the right tract.

Many students have been able to engage in undergraduate research, obtain jobs in labs and other opportunities as a result of their projects.  A few weeks ago, a young man came back and told me he is graduating this spring and he had been accepted at a medical school. He wanted to let me know how much his experience in the lab meant to him and how it helped him achieve his goal of getting into med school.

BB: What can parents do to get their kids excited about science?

SR: As a grandparent I have seen one approach that works. My son was involved in research projects from the grade 6 through high school. He qualified for the International Science and Engineering Fair and won a first place award.  He conducts experiments at home with his children. They are often simple, but thought provoking. The kids love doing the experiments. I buy science books for them that include simple experiments and we have purchased commercial experiment kits for them to use.  My son takes them to museums on a regular basis.  They will tell you they love science and they enjoy doing experiments as a family. The moral of the story is you can encourage children to engage in science, and because of their curiosity they really engage in activities.

I have also seen the other side of the story. I run labs for students to work on projects two nights a week. I have seen parents willing to bring the child back for a sports practice, but they are not willing to do the same for an academic activity. That sends the entirely wrong message. Parents need to support their children’s interest in science.

BB: What do you see in the current generation of students that gives you hope for the future?

SR: I see some students that have set high goals for themselves and they work very hard to achieve those goals. Some of the students are very bright and they have the social skills to work with others to accomplish tasks. Many students have empathy for others and are willing to work to make the lives of others better.

We have a number of students that want to improve the world and have a positive influence on it. For instance, one student that will graduate this year has had neurological disorders in her family. She has decided to be a neurobiologist and tackle some of the neurological disorders that exist. I have great faith that she will accomplish great things with her life.

The students in our school raise about $30,000 every year to support cancer research through Relay for Life. Last year they raised $38,000.  Not bad for a small rural school. The students take great pride in raising this money.

BB: What are some of your favorite memories from the past 49 years?

SR: I have had a number of moments in my career that have thrilled me. Most of those have dealt with student success. Just this semester, I had a student in anatomy and physiology that had not been doing well at all, and on the last test did very well compared to past performance. That was exciting to see, and I talked to the student about it so that the performance would be repeated on the next test. Sometimes it takes some students awhile to realize what they need to do to be successful.

Another moment is when I had 15 students at State Science Day and nearly all of them received the highest rating possible on their project and the others all received the next highest rating. The school was given an award for the high level achievement of the students.

One of the things I have always enjoyed about working with the students is the discussion that takes place in the lab. There are discussions and arguments over various issues. The net result of all of this is that a community of young scientists is built, and as with any community, the members support and help each other. This may not happen every year, but it has occurred in many of the years that I had night labs.

The greatest thrill is to see students leave school and take on a career in science or medicine. Then I know I have made a contribution.

Is there a teacher who inspired you to become a scientist? Share you story and celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week  by using #ThankATeacher .

a great science teacher inspires essay

Written by Brian Beck

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I deeply appreciate the sentiment in this blog post, and have a personal connection as I too studied under Mr. Spencer Reames. Mr. Reames was by far the best teacher I have ever encountered. The times I spent in the laboratory working under his guidance and alongside fellow students were among the most memorable, fun and motivational experiences of my years of formal education. He created an environment where we were each individually learning and growing, but where we also had a deep camaraderie with fellow students… where we felt a connectedness to something larger than ourselves. While in the end I diverted from my studies in Microbiology in college and embarked on a 25+ year career at Microsoft, I will forever be indebted to Mr. Reames for the learning and personal growth I experienced in his classroom and lab. Thank you Mr. Reames!

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5 characteristics of an effective science teacher – from a researcher who trains them

a great science teacher inspires essay

Assistant Professor of Science Education, Mercer University

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Meenakshi Sharma does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Rather than have students memorize definitions and facts about a science topic such as light, an effective first grade teacher today would have students investigate various types of objects under sunlight and flashlight. Students would collect evidence to understand how light helps them see, and they’d experiment with different materials to understand how and why shadows are made .

This shift is a result of the Next Generation Science Standards , which aim to define a uniform vision for K-12 science education across the country. Introduced in 2013, the standards move away from emphasizing scientific vocabulary and facts recorded in textbooks to using real-world phenomena to explore and explain the natural world. These phenomena engage students in a set of science and engineering practices , or SEPs. Over 40 states have adopted the Next Generation standards or some version of them.

Despite the wide adoption of these standards, the current status of elementary school science education is concerning. The nation’s report card shows that many students in grades K-5 do not get quality science instruction. The situation is worse in high-poverty school districts . The majority of instructional time in elementary school grades is often dedicated to math and language arts , with science on the back burner.

As a science education researcher and a teacher educator, my goal is to help prepare the next generation of science teachers. Here are five attributes of an effective elementary school science teacher that align with the new standards.

1. Nurtures student curiosity

Kids are curious by nature. Science teachers should use relevant everyday events as a basis of science instruction that fosters interest and curiosity . This approach encourages students to take a more active role in figuring out how natural events work instead of being taught those lessons by an instructor.

For instance, in this video , a teacher poses an interesting query to students: How did a water puddle disappear over time? During a subsequent experiment, students used thermometers to measure the temperature of a water puddle outside at different times of the day. They used the data to make connections between temperature changes and the shrinking size of the puddle and delve into the reasoning behind it.

In this case, the teacher involved students in scientific practices and used an everyday occurrence to teach key scientific concepts such as sunlight, energy and energy transfer.

2. Encourages scientific thinking

Effective science teachers involve students in making sense of natural events and the science ideas underlying them. In other words, they actively engage students in wondering and figuring out science phenomena around them and how they happen. They help students develop exploratory questions and hypotheses to explain such events, and encourage them to test and refine their explanations based on scientific evidence.

For example, when a first grade classroom was learning about how day and night happen , students illustrated their own understanding of the phenomena – using a scientific practice called modeling. As they learned more and more, they kept revising their drawings. They also collected long-term data to understand the repeating patterns of day and night.

Teachers should also ensure that all students participate in making sense of science phenomena in their classrooms.

To share their ideas about a science phenomenon, students often rely on their personal experiences and native languages from their homes and communities . For instance, a student from an agricultural community might have particular knowledge about plant growth and unique local language to describe it. An effective science teacher provides opportunities to build on such native experiences and local knowledge in their science classrooms.

3. Develops scientific literacy

Teachers who plan lessons according to the current standards aim to develop scientifically literate young citizens who can identify, evaluate and understand scientific arguments underlying local and global issues.

They also use socioscientific issues in their instruction. Socioscientific issues are local or global phenomena that can be explained by science and signify social and political problems. For example, students might make sense of the scientific information underlying the current COVID-19 crisis and make arguments for how and why vaccination is important for their communities. Other examples of socioscientific issues are climate change, genetic engineering and pollution from oil spills.

4. Integrates science with other subjects

Teaching science with an interdisciplinary approach – that is to say, using math, technology, language arts and social studies to make sense of science phenomena – can lead to rich and rigorous learning experiences.

For example, teachers can integrate math by having students create visual charts and graphs to explain their experimental or observation data. Technology integration in the form of games and simulations in science classrooms can help students picture complex science ideas. Incorporating reading and comprehension strategies in science can bolster students’ ability to read critically for scientific ideas and evidence.

5. Uses classroom assessments to support student learning

A science teacher who is interested in students’ ideas will design and use classroom-based assessments that reveal students’ science thinking. They do not use closed-ended assessments that require yes or no answers, textbook-style definitions or lists of scientific facts. Instead, they use open-ended, phenomenon-based assessments that give students a chance to show their understanding.

For example, a fifth grade assessment presents students with a story of an Australian ecosystem and prompts them to use modeling to explain relationships between different components of the ecosystem. Such an assessment encourages students to explain how a process happens instead of recalling information.

Effective science teachers do not evaluate students’ responses for right and wrong answers. They interpret and evaluate students’ scientific explanations to understand strengths and gaps in their learning and use this information to adapt future instruction.

Teachers who are prepared to implement these five evidence-based practices can potentially involve all students in their classroom in meaningful science learning.

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Think back to learning about science in your early school years. What experiences stand out? What excited you or shut you down? What inspired you to learn more?

I often use these questions to launch professional learning with administrators, instructional coaches, and teachers. Some have exceptionally vivid memories of engaging science at school, from experimenting with pill bugs to blowing something up. But just as many remember reading uninspiring textbooks and answering end-of-chapter questions.

The takeaway from such anecdotes is clear: Good teaching matters, and it’s tough to teach science well. An effective science lesson requires planning engaging activities, navigating tricky science concepts, anticipating and working with students’ preconceptions and misconceptions, and making difficult decisions on the fly. Good teaching is an art-one performed by those with specialized knowledge and skills.

The Key to Good Science Teaching: Good continuous learning for science teachers looks a lot like what we want for students, writes researcher Kirsten Daehler.

The adoption of new standards in many states-such as the Next Generation Science Standards-adds greater complexities for teachers. These standards shift expectations for how students learn science and often bring significant changes in curriculum and classroom practices. Many science teachers already lack “sufficiently rich experiences” with content in the science discipline they currently teach, according to a 2015 National Academy of Sciences report. This problem is especially significant both at the elementary level and in schools serving predominantly low-income student populations. But the problem is by no means limited to the elementary grades. Currently, two out of every five high schools aren’t offering physics because they don’t have qualified teachers .

The new Every Student Succeeds Act calls for top-notch science teachers for all students. But how can we get there? The key is continuous learning. And the quality of that continuing education matters every bit as much as the duration.

Good teaching matters, and it's tough to teach science well."

The National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education have championed rigorous research and development efforts to understand how best to support science learning for teachers and students alike. The 2015 National Academy of Sciences report concludes the most effective professional learning for science teachers focuses on content rather than just pedagogy; entails active learning; provides consistency across learning experiences and with school, district, and state policies; has sufficient duration to allow repeated practice and reflection on classroom experiences; and brings together teachers with similar experiences or needs.

Understanding the ingredients of high-quality professional learning is essential. But many districts and schools lack the in-house expertise to ensure teachers are thoroughly grounded in life, earth, and physical science. To make up for this deficit, many local education agencies have successfully partnered with outside organizations to provide content expertise that complements inhouse support from district instructional coaches, lead teachers, and staff developers.


How do we ensure that all students have access to well-trained and qualified science teachers? Education Week Commentary invited teachers, professors, and teacher-educators across the country to weigh in on this pressing challenge. This special section is supported by a grant from The Noyce Foundation. Education Week retained sole editorial control over the content of this package; the opinions expressed are the authors’ own, however.

Read more from the package.

In my own work at one such nonprofit educational organization, I direct Making Sense of SCIENCE-a professional-learning project that has a proven record of deepening teacher knowledge, transforming classroom practices, and measurably increasing student achievement in science.

The secret sauce is offering teachers first-hand learning experiences that are science-rich, cognitively challenging, collaborative, and fun-not unlike what we want for our K-12 students. Many teachers have never learned science in this way, so reading a book, listening to a webinar, or attending a workshop is inadequate. Instead, teachers benefit from actively engaging in scientific practices, such as asking questions, gathering and analyzing data, and engaging in scientific argumentation. We use written cases of practice-similar to those used in business, medicine, and law-to foster peer-to-peer conversations about students and develop teachers’ professional decisionmaking. Finally, we empower teachers to take responsibility for their own learning and to develop their identities as lifelong learners who are part of a professional community.

For their part, regional groups-such as county offices of education or other intermediate agencies-and states can also invest in building capacity in science education. Michigan is already taking such an approach. The Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers Network deploys science leaders from 33 regions across the state to provide science professional development to educators, serving large urban districts such as Detroit as well as more rural remote counties in the north. A number of other states, including New Mexico and Texas, are also appropriating legislative funds earmarked to train a network of science leaders who, in turn, provide quality science professional learning at the local level.

This effort is absolutely worthwhile. Research suggests that teachers who feel successful and supported in their work are more likely to stay in the profession-yielding significant fiscal advantages. The researcher Richard Ingersoll has calculated that the revolving door of teacher turnover costs school districts upwards of $2.2 billion a year . More importantly, our students deserve high-quality science education that is inspiring, memorable, and prepares them for college, career, and life. Ensuring more professional-learning opportunities for teachers will go a long way toward helping us realize these successes.

Coverage of science learning and career pathways is supported in part by a grant from The Noyce Foundation, at www.noycefdn.org . Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage. A version of this article appeared in the October 26, 2016 edition of Education Week as Good Science Teaching Requires Continuous Learning

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The teachers who inspired us, and even changed the trajectories of our lives

Rita Pierson leads off TED Talks Education, our first televised event, which will air on PBS on May 7. Photo: Ryan Lash

Rita Pierson is the kind of teacher you wish you had. An educator for 40 years, she is funny, sharp and simply has a way with words — so much so that today’s talk feels a bit like a sermon.

Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion

“I have had classes so low, so academically deficient that I cried. I wondered, ‘How am I going to take this group in nine months from where they are to where they need to be?” says Pierson, in this amazing talk . “I came up with a bright idea … I gave them a saying: ‘I am somebody. I was somebody when I came and I’ll be a better somebody when I leave. I am powerful and I am strong. I deserve the education that I get here’ … You say it long enough, it starts to be a part of you.”

Pierson’s talk will open our first-ever television special, TED Talks Education, which airs Tuesday, May 7 at 10/9c on PBS. It will be an exhilarating night, featuring talks from educators and innovators with bold ideas, plus performances from host John Legend. Set your DVRs and read lots more here »

In honor of Rita Pierson and TED Talks Education, I asked the TED staff: who is that one teacher who just really, truly influenced you?

“The teacher who changed my life was, serendipitously, my English teacher for kindergarten, 7th grade and senior year of high school. Ms. Barbato taught me how to write eloquently (I hope!), and she had this unexplained faith in me that really galvanized me as a student. What she taught me stuck with me through college and beyond.” — Olivier Sherman, Distribution Coordinator

“Mr. Eric Yang was only in his mid-twenties when I had him as my AP government teacher, but he was unforgettable. He was the first teacher I had who made keeping up with current events mandatory, forcing us to read news sources on our own time and not just from the textbook. He exuded discipline, and that was contagious.” — Thu-Huong Ha , Editorial Projects Specialist

“Mrs. Bailey was my English teacher. I loved her. I was the younger sister of an already very successful big sister, and that was a cloud over my head too. She held my hand and brought me into the sun with her love of the English language. She recommended books just to me, she made me feel special and I just couldn’t get enough of her. I went on a school trip to Amsterdam with her and she brought her husband, who was an artist. She changed my life.” — Juliet Blake , TED TV (who executive produced TED Talks Education)

“Mrs. Mendelson, my 8th-grade English teacher. This was my first year living in the U.S. I think she set the stage for future learning and she’s the main reason I have such good English right now, both written and spoken. So, thank you, Mrs. Mendelson.”  — Ruben Marcos, intern

“I still recall how awesome my 6th-grade teacher, Mr. Fawess, was. Middle school in general is basically Hades. I was extremely small, super nerdy, and had a unibrow, asthma and glasses — plus I left school once a week to take classes at the local high school. I got picked on a lot. Mr. Fawess came up with all these ways to take my mind off that — he talked to me about bullying and how to let things roll off your shoulder and gave me books I could read outside of class. He got me thinking about college early and what kinds of subjects I was most interested in. I consider myself lucky to have had such an inspiring teacher. If only he had discouraged me from dressing up as the skunk in our annual school play.” — Amanda Ellis , TEDx Projects Coordinator

“Robert Baldwin’s class ‘Essay and Inquiry.’ Every day: Walk into class. Sit down. Look at the handout on every desk. Read it. Start writing. Class ends — stop writing. Every day. Except Wednesday, when we’d put the desks in a circle and everyone would read something they’d written. The prompts were everything from simple questions like, “What’s your favorite memory of trees?” to readings from Rachel Carson or W.B. Yeats or Orson Welles. It was a whirlwind of ideas, and the constant writing forced us to wrestle with them, and (tritely but correctly) ourselves. It was like a boot camp in thinking. People I know who took, and loved, that class went on to some of the most amazing careers. Every time we get together, we gush about the quiet, unassuming, force of nature that was Mr. Baldwin. He would have hated that last sentence, because the metaphor is strained. But he also taught us to ignore authority, so I’m writing it anyway.” — Ben Lillie , Writer/Editor

“Mrs. Lewis, my 5th-grade teacher, read to us every week. She made us put our heads on the desk and close our eyes and then read wonderful stories to us: The Golden Pine Cone , The Diamond Feather .. . It made our imaginations come alive.” — Janet McCartney , Director of Events

“My junior high school science teacher, Dr. Ernie Roy, with his outsized laugh and booming voice, was one of my very favorite teachers. He demonstrated to us how important we were to him by making what were obviously personal sacrifices on our behalf: when the lab needed equipment, we knew he had purchased some of it on his own; when we couldn’t get a bus for a field trip, he took a few of us in his own car (something which could have gotten him into quite a bit of trouble); and when a big science fair deadline loomed large, he opened the lab every weekend to help us with our experiments. At a point in my life when I didn’t have a lot of guidance or positive role models, he taught me a lot more than science; he taught me, by example, the power of sacrifice, discipline and self-respect.” — Michael McWatters , UX Architect

“Dr. Heller, my 10th-grade social studies teacher, taught me that passion is the key to learning. I had never met anyone from kindergarten to 10th grade that matched his raw passion for the  meaning  behind historical events, and it was so contagious.” — Deron Triff , Director of Distribution

“Rene Arcilla, a professor of Educational Philosophy at NYU, changed the way I think.  Prior to that class, I hadn’t truly been challenged about what *I* actually thought — much of my educational life was about regurgitating answers. Rene was the first teacher who asked me questions that he/we didn’t know the answers to. Realizing that I had to actually provide the answers from within myself, and not look to an outside source, was very difficult at first. It was a muscle I had to build. I owe a lot of who I am today — and even this job — to the introspective, critical and philosophical thinking I learned from Rene’s classes.” — Susan Zimmerman , Executive Assistant to the Curator

“Mr. Downey — 7th- and 8th-grade Humanities. Still the hardest class I’ve ever taken!  I’d credit Mr. Downey with helping me think more expansively about the world. Right before 8th-grade graduation, he showed us Dead Poets Society , and on the final day of class we all agreed to stand on our desks and recite ‘O Captain, my captain.’  It was all very dramatic and I think there were tears.” — Jennifer Gilhooley, Partnership Development

“I took my first painting class my sophomore year of high school and fell in love with it. My teacher, Ms. Bowen, told me I could use the art studio whenever I wanted to, and gave me access to all kinds of new paints and canvasses. I spent almost every lunch period there for a few years, and regularly stayed in the studio after school ended. One day, Ms. Bowen told me that a parent of a student I had painted expressed interest in buying the painting of her daughter. After that first sale, I painted portraits of kids in my school on a commission basis, and continued to do so for the remainder of my high school experience. Thanks to Ms. Bowen’s mentorship, I felt empowered to try to make money from something I was passionate about and loved to do.  Here  is one of the paintings.” — Cloe Shasha , TED Projects Coordinator

“I had a chemistry teacher, Mr. Sampson, who used to meet me at school an hour before it started to tutor me when the material wasn’t clicking. That was the first class I had ever really struggled with, and he made this investment to help me get through the material — but more importantly learn that I could teach myself anything.”  —Stephanie Kent, Special Projects

“On the first day of my Elementary Italian Immersion class, I asked to be excused to use the restroom in English. Professor Agostini kept speaking rapidly in Italian as I squirmed in my seat. Since she seemed unclear about my request, I asked her again to no avail. Finally, I flipped through my brand-new Italian-English dictionary and discovered the words, ‘ Posso usare il bagno per favore .’ Suddenly, she flashed me a smile, handed me the key, told me where to go in  Italian , and pointed to my dictionary so I could learn how to follow her directions. Even though I only studied with her for one semester, I will never forget that I emerged from her class knowing intermediate-level Italian.” — Jamia Wilson, TED Prize Storyteller

“My history teacher in high school, Mr. Cook, challenged us to think hard about what happened in the past and directly related it to what was happening around us. He gave us ways to try and predict what could happen in the future. He was the first person to make me take ownership of what it meant to be a citizen and the social responsibility that came with that. Because he taught ‘World History’ rather than a regionally specific class, we learned extensively about other countries, and I am convinced he is the reason that I went abroad to Ghana in college and I am now still an avid traveler today.” — Samantha Kelly, Fellows Group

“The professor who taught me Intro to Women and Gender Studies my sophomore year of college completely changed my framework for thinking about human relationships within a hierarchy. She brought coffee and tea to class for us every morning to congratulate us for being so dedicated to learning as to choose an 8:30 a.m. class. When I emailed her to say I’d be out sick, she sent me a get-well e-card. And when, in a fit of undergraduate irresponsibility, I simply failed to do an assignment, she wasn’t the least bit mad — instead, I received a phone call from her a week after the end of the semester informing me that, because I’d done such good work, she couldn’t bear to give me the B+ I numerically deserved. It was incredible to see how fully she lived the subject she taught; the philosophy of compassion and equality.” — Morton Bast , Editorial Assistant

“My high school photography teacher, Susan Now. I’m convinced that the support I got from Susan got me through high school. Two years later, when I was freaked out about transferring colleges, I, without hesitation, called her for advice. She made me feel comfortable and challenged me to speak up and be confident with expressing myself as a student. So valuable!” — Ella Saunders-Crivello, Partnerships Coordinator

“Cliff Simon, one of my college professors, taught me that wisdom is the greatest pursuit, our skills and passions are transferable, and that fear will only ever always hold us back.  To this day, he’s a great mentor.  We’re now great friends, and I even officiated his wedding ceremony.” — Jordan Reeves, TED-Ed Community Manager

“My 10th-grade biology teacher spoke and interacted with me like I was a grown-up individual and not one of a batch of ‘kids.’ He made us all fascinated with the subjects he taught because he spoke to us not at us. I always worked hard to match that capacity that he saw in me. He was only in his 50s when, a few years after I graduated, he died suddenly of a heart attack. Lots of sad former students.” — Ladan Wise , Product Development Manager

“Stephen O’Leary, my professor and mentor at the University of Southern California, showed me that the quality of my thinking could be directly traced to the quality of the authors I referenced in my bibliography. This realization motivated me to both seek and challenge everything I have read ever since. This habit likely played a part in me finding myself so passionate about being a part of TED.” — Sarah Shewey , TEDActive Program Producer

“My high school art teacher was equal parts smart and silly, and always insightful. Mr. Miller showed a bunch of restless seniors that art class wasn’t just about memorizing which painters influenced which periods. Instead, he taught us that art was — at its core — an exciting way to touch both the head and the heart. Mr. Miller took our  class to the Met in New York one warm spring afternoon, a trip I’ll never forget. Great art, he told us, was about great ideas, and not simply the pleasing arrangement of color, shape and form. Thank you, Russ Miller.” — Jim Daly, TED Books 

“Mrs. Presley, my 1st-grade teacher, advanced my reading skills to full-on chapter book independence … and for that I’ll be forever grateful! But the most valuable gift she gave me was self-esteem. At my school, we’d bring a brown bag lunch with our name written on the bag. I always wanted a middle name like the other kids, and this daily ritual made me feel the lack. I must have let my mom know, because she started to write middle names on my bag. At first it started: ‘Marla Ruby Mitchnick.’ Then ‘Marla Ruby Diamond Mitchnick,’ and then ‘Marla Ruby Diamond Violet Mitchnick,’ and so on. Mrs. Presley never skipped a single syllable — she just read it straight through, and I felt like a beloved and fortunate person with a beautiful name, surrounded by wonderful friends.” — Marla Mitchnick , Film + Video Editor

“I signed up for Journalism 1 in high school having no idea what I was getting myself into. Marcie Pachino ran a rigorous course on the joys of telling other people’s stories and on the extreme responsibility that comes with reporting news that might otherwise go unheard. She was kind and inspiring, but wouldn’t hesitate to give you an edit of an article that simply read ‘Ugh’ in big red letters. The key: you always knew she was right. I went on to become a journalist professionally and, in all my years of writing, I’ve never encountered a more demanding editor.” — Kate Torgovnick, Writer (the author of this post)

“Professor Stephen Commins completely changed my  learning experience at UCLA. He pushed the boundaries of what I thought I could accomplish as an undergrad, and having him as my research professor improved my quality of education tenfold. I’ll never forget in my last lecture with him, he left our class with this piece of advice: to work on poverty domestically before attempting to help those abroad, because you aren’t truly a development professional until you have done both.” — Chiara Baldanza, Coordinator

“My high school English teacher Veronica Stephenson went above and beyond to allow me the opportunity to dive into theater and acting in a very underfunded arts community. She saw passion in me, and engaged it by spending a lot of her own time and effort to help me pursue something I loved. I learned so much from her and got more personalized experience than I probably would have from a more arts-focused curriculum due solely to her faith in me.” —Emilie Soffe, Office Coordinator

Now it’s your turn. Who is the teacher who most inspired you? Please share in your comments.

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Three cartoons: a female student thinking about concentration, a male student in a wheelchair reading Frankenstein and a female student wearing a headscarf and safety goggles heating a test tube on a bunsen burner. All are wearing school uniform.

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What’s it really like to be a science teacher?

Mark Jordan

Tell us about your experiences so we (and others) can better represent and support you

2022’s Science Teaching Survey gathered detailed insights from over 3700 practising teachers and technicians across the UK and Ireland. These responses helped us to gain a picture of the health of our science teaching community – some of the rewards and positive aspects that contribute to great science teaching, but also the many challenges that affect learning outcomes, teacher well-being and career choices. Our 2023 survey has just launched and we’d love to hear from you – and learn from you – again.

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Source: © Girafchik123/Getty Images

How satisfied are you with your working life? Tell us in the Science Teaching Survey

Last year’s Science Teaching Survey gathered detailed insights from over 3700 practising teachers and technicians across the UK and Ireland (rsc.li/3Nc55V2). These helped us to gain a picture of the health of our science teaching community – some of the rewards and positive aspects that contribute to great science teaching, but also the many challenges that affect learning outcomes, teacher well-being and career choices. Our 2023 survey has just launched and we’d love to hear from you – and learn from you – again.

As a learned society we are often asked for our expert opinion on themes that will inform government policy. Requests tend to come at short notice and with challenging deadlines, so having detailed and robust evidence close at hand is critical to providing quick and compelling responses.

Most recently we provided written evidence to the Education select committee on teacher recruitment, training and retention. In asking policy influencers to do more to reduce teacher workload we were able to provide evidence from 2022’s survey showing that workload and burnout have a major bearing on teachers considering leaving the profession.

Real voices make for the most compelling evidence, particularly when they represent a whole community

Another request to policymakers is for a systematic approach to CPD throughout a science teacher’s career. From last year’s survey we know that under half of secondary science teachers feel they have adequate access to high-quality subject-specific PD.

Some of the findings formed the basis of news articles in trusted papers and magazines, helping to raise the profile of the issues with a broader audience. And within the RSC I regularly hear my team members using the findings from the survey findings to help improve how we support members of the science education community.

The 2023 survey

This year’s survey is now live. It builds on some themes from last year, like access to CPD, your well-being and job satisfaction. But it also investigates new areas such as the inclusivity of our curriculums, understanding of vocational pathways and how subject experts are deployed.

This year’s survey is now live: bit.ly/43WH3nf. It builds on some themes from last year, like access to CPD, your well-being and job satisfaction. But it also investigates new areas such as the inclusivity of our curriculums, understanding of vocational pathways and how subject experts are deployed.

When your invitation arrives, please make time to share your experiences, insights and big asks – real voices make for the most compelling evidence, particularly when they represent a whole community. It’s our mission to make sure your voices are heard loud and clear to inform better choices for the future.

Mark Jordan, RSC head of education

The Science Teaching Survey 2023 has now closed. Read the 2022 survey results and don’t forget to check back for the 2023 results.

This article was updated 16 June 2023. 

Mark Jordan

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‘I Had Great Teachers Growing Up Who Inspired Me With Curiosity and Encouraged Me to Do Whatever I Wanted in Life,’ Says NCSTA Ann and Dr. Bill Palmer Science Administration Distinguished Service Award Winner Cliff Hudson ‘16MSA

Cliff Hudson

Moon Man, The Rock Guy, Science Guy and Oreo Guy are just a few of the nicknames Cliff Hudson ‘16MSA has been given over the last few years from students in Martin County Schools. Oreo Guy comes from a cookie moon phase activity that Hudson presented to the students.

As K-12 science/STEM coordinator for Martin County Schools, Hudson works with science and STEM teachers in the district to provide resources and support. He also provides professional development to the staff, helps organize and coach science competitions and writes grants to provide materials and projects for students and teachers.

But what he enjoys most about his role is being able to model and co-teach lessons and activities with the teachers. Hudson says he enjoys co-teaching with the “great science staff and watching the students’ excitement as they discover and learn new things.”

That enthusiasm shows in his work and hasn’t gone unnoticed by his peers as Hudson was presented with the 2020 North Carolina Science Teachers Association (NCSTA) Ann and Dr. Bill Palmer Science Administration Distinguished Service Award.

The award is given to a person exhibiting leadership in science education, contributing to improvements in science education, and excelling in the aspects of science education. The honor is determined by other science educators throughout North Carolina.

“It is a humbling experience to be awarded this state-level honor from the North Carolina Science Teachers Association. We are doing some great things in Martin County and I owe a lot of that success to the great science staff that I get a chance to work alongside every day,” Hudson said. “Not only do I get to work with great staff, I get to work with some fun and amazing students who brighten my day. My wife can tell when I am scheduled to work in a classroom before I leave for work in the morning just by extra peppiness. I truly love providing those opportunities for curiosity for our students.”

Hudson, who has served in Martin County Schools for 16 years, started his education career as a lateral entry science teacher when he graduated with his undergraduate degree in biology. He taught Earth/environmental science at Williamston High School for 10 years before transitioning into school administration. And for the past four years, he has served in his current role.

His mother was a huge inspiration for him wanting to go into education. She was an educator for more than 30 years and is retired now.

“Watching her prepare plans, talk about teaching and the things she was doing to help provide the best experiences for her students really made me want to do the same thing for other students,” he said.

As a teacher, Hudson knew he wanted to take on more leadership roles within his career and saw the positive impact a school administrator has on the school as a whole, which inspired him to pursue a Master of School Administration .

“I want to support teachers who, in return, support and promote a positive learning experience for students. As a teacher, I had a positive impact on roughly 150 students a year and I wanted to have a larger impact on students,” he said. “I get up every day and do what I do for the students. They are the reason we as educators do what we do.”

Hudson chose the NC State College of Education because of the Northeast Leadership Academy (NELA) , where he is a graduate of cohort four.

“NELA is one of the top programs in the nation that provides deep rooted practice in supporting leaders in Northeast North Carolina. NELA invests a lot of quality training and materials into its students to help them become successful at transforming schools in rural counties,” he said.

Hudson says the NELA program focuses on “building culture and relationships at the heart of the practice.” There is a quote from one of his professors that has always stuck with him and that was “culture eats strategy.”

“I can have the most beautiful school reform plan on paper but if the people don’t believe in it and the building-level culture isn’t where it needs to be, that plan is useless,” he said. “The year-long, real world experience NELA provided was instrumental in preparing for a building level leadership position.”

Growing up, Hudson loved science and was always fascinated with the discoveries and curious about how and why things are the way they are in the natural world. Having great science teachers, he wondered how “cool” it would be to teach students every day about the world around them and be able to have fun while doing it.

“Every day I get to play with rocks, microscopes, robots and electricity, walk outside and play in the dirt, look at plants and the sky, all while having fun doing it — it’s a way to live,” he said.

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A teacher inspiring girls to study science and tech

a great science teacher inspires essay

Meet Wesley van Oort-Strang. Wesley is a science and tech teacher at Grotius College in Delft, Netherlands (member of the UNESCO Associated Schools Network) and at the Teacher Training Institution of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. She teaches technical studies, mathematics and IT, and has set up extracurricular activities such as robotics programming, wood and metalwork.

What inspired you to become a science and technology teacher?

After completing my higher education in product design, I did not want to work in a world dominated by men. I loved subjects like math, tech, design and ICT, so I decided to become a teacher. I enjoy being able to inspire students, because they are the future.

Today marks the 2018 International Girls in ICT Day. Why do you think it is important to equip girls with digital skills?  

Developing skills for the 21 st Century, such as media and ICT literacy, being able to think creatively, computationally and critically, is very important. The way we communicate is becoming more digital every day. Teaching digital skills now to students, particularly girls, means that they will benefit from it their entire life. It will equip girls with the skills needed to apply for any job they dream of and enable them to take part in shaping the future.

UNESCO’s Cracking the Code report found that just 35% of higher education students studying STEM subjects are women while only 3% graduate from ICT fields worldwide. In a few years from now, there will be 7 million new STEM jobs in Europe - we’ll need all the talent available. From your experience, what could inspire and engage girls to follow STEM and ICT fields and create a more balanced gender representation in these fields?

There are many things to be done! More female roles models can inspire girls to engage in these fields. Changing attitudes, especially the way men think about what women can do, can make space for the next generation of STEM girls and women. Enabling women to earn the same wages as men is also an important step in levelling the playing field. Teachers also have a big role to play in inspiring girls to follow STEM or ICT fields and supporting their students even when things get a little tough. Teaching STEM and ICT subjects hands-on by having girls design a game or keep a blog online can encourage them to engage in these subjects and believe that these fields are not only for boys.

Female teachers can have a positive impact on girls’ and boys’ education. Do you see yourself as a role model for your female students and if so, what do you strive to teach your students as a woman in STEM education?

I think it is very important that girls and boys see that STEM subjects are also being taught by women. Teachers are supposed to be a reflection of students’ future society. I’m not always aware of it because it feels very natural for me, but I do see myself as a role model for my female students. I know it is very important to motivate and stimulate girls to engage and succeed in STEM subjects.

You established a robotics programming activity for your students: do girls and boys engage in the same manner? If not, how do you stimulate girls’ participation and performance?

There is a difference in the way girls and boys engage in the robotics activity. Girls tend not to show much interest while boys like it from the start. But the one thing that girls and boys have in common is that they are all very creative. As a teacher, I strive to give my students the time and the space to be creative. I also ensure that curriculum and extra-curricular projects are designed to appeal to girls. Girls often tend to think robotics is too hard for them and that they will most likely fail. It is important to show girls that they too can do it. Because once they do, girls end up being surprised at how much they actually enjoy it.

Teacher training can help overcome gender bias. In your work as a woman teacher trainer, how do you strive to have future teachers engage girls in STEM education? What teaching methods do you use or believe are effective to engage girls in the fields of STEM?

Awareness of gender differences in these particular fields of education is the first thing to achieve as a teacher. STEM subjects used to be taught in such a way that girls would find not find them interesting. I introduced new methods of teaching, such as Gamification (game-based learning) and Escape the Classroom (completing subject-related challenges) to appeal to both genders. Every student should have fun learning, because it helps with retention and makes learning more interesting. The manner in which STEM subjects are taught can make a huge difference in girls’ participation and engagement.

What advice would you give to girls and young women interested in pursuing STEM and ICT studies and careers?

Everything is possible. It will not always be easy, especially in the workplace, but if you have a dream of pursuing STEM or ICT studies and becoming an engineer or a coder, keep trying and you will succeed. Just do it!

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My science teacher is a mentor for my lifetime

Teachers train students in many aspects. A good teacher will always guide his students on the right path and make them good and responsible. They never treat the teaching as a job but as a boon they got and their role in this society is second to none. How my science teacher mentored my life is described in this essay.


My science teacher, a teacher with dedication.

There are some teachers who give one to one guidance to the students studying under them. Such teachers are a great asset to society as well as the nation. They will find out who are the best students in the class and then they will not give much consideration to their performance but rather will look for those who are mediocre or very poor in the subjects. By concentrating on the poor students whose intelligence level is not good enough to absorb the study material, these teachers change the lives of these mediocre students in a very helpful and special way and for that we are indebted to such teachers. We had a professor in our post graduation classes who used to come to see whether the students are able to do the practicals or not. Some practicals are difficult and even with the help of the lab assistant students were not able to do them and then they started avoiding them. That professor knew all these problems of students and used to come to us and help us on individual basis to sort out the problems of that particular practical and saw to it that we became expert in that. Such people are having the real spirit of teaching and we feel proud of them that they were our teachers.

That is true. They will help the mediocre people to improve their performance. More than that they will try to find out the shortcomings in the students and help them in overcoming those shortcomings. That is what my science teacher has done in my case. This type of training will help even the best students to improve their overall performance. Some students will be very good at academics but their skills in other activities may not be up to the marks. A good teacher will identify this and will try to impart that skill to the students. They are really the teachers who are taking care of the overall growth of the students. We get such teachers very rarely.

Very nicely explained by the author. Indeed, a good teacher is the property of the nation. This kind of teacher is the true builder of the nation. They not only help in teaching students rather make them responsible citizens of the country. I have also met this kind of teacher. They dedicate their life for students. They are not restricted up to bookish knowledge rather help in developing moral value and virtue within students. When I studied in class 4 then one of my teachers was like that only. He used to give extra time on students when school gets over. He selflessly worked in his field for which the entire school appreciated him. Even after getting tired he never denied to students who come to him for clearing doubt and always stood firmly for supporting students. I pay salute to these teachers.

It is the fact that our school teachers are more dear to us no matter they may be strict. Many of us think that a teacher merely teaches the portion and gets away. But she really make a sculpture out of every student and chisel them in the right path. At the tenth class level, more than the parents, the teacher knows as to what should be our career path and what stream be taken in the intermediate level. Such would be inclusive bond between the teacher and the students and often we feel left out when our new life starts with the college. Teachers are the most respected professionals in the country and that is why teaching is called the noble profession.

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Essay on My Teacher My Inspiration

Students are often asked to write an essay on My Teacher My Inspiration in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on My Teacher My Inspiration


Teachers play a crucial role in shaping our lives. They are the ones who ignite the spark of curiosity and help us discover our passions. My teacher, Mrs. Smith, is my inspiration.

Guidance and Support

Mrs. Smith always guides and supports me. She has a unique way of making learning fun and interesting. She encourages creativity and critical thinking.

Life Lessons

Beyond academics, Mrs. Smith teaches important life lessons. She emphasizes the values of honesty, kindness, and resilience. These teachings inspire me to be a better person.

In conclusion, Mrs. Smith, my teacher, is my inspiration. She has greatly influenced my life and I am grateful for her presence.

250 Words Essay on My Teacher My Inspiration

Teachers are the guiding lights that illuminate our paths to knowledge and wisdom. They are not just educators, but role models, mentors, and inspirations. My teacher, in particular, has been a significant source of inspiration for me.

Embodiment of Knowledge

My teacher is a veritable treasure trove of knowledge. Their profound understanding of the subject matter and ability to simplify complex concepts has always left me in awe. It is their knowledge that has ignited the spark of curiosity within me, encouraging me to delve deeper into my studies.

Instilling Values

Beyond academics, my teacher has been instrumental in instilling in me values of integrity, discipline, and empathy. They have shown me that education is not just about acquiring knowledge, but also about developing character and becoming a responsible and compassionate individual.

Perseverance Personified

My teacher’s resilience and perseverance in the face of challenges have been a source of great inspiration. Their determination to overcome obstacles and their unwavering commitment to their profession have taught me the value of perseverance and hard work.

In conclusion, my teacher has been a beacon of inspiration in my life, shaping my character and guiding me towards knowledge. They have shown me the importance of perseverance, instilled in me valuable life values, and ignited my curiosity. It is through their guidance that I have been able to navigate my academic journey with confidence and enthusiasm.

500 Words Essay on My Teacher My Inspiration

The beacon of knowledge: my teacher.

Teachers play a pivotal role in shaping the minds of students. They are the architects of a nation’s future, molding young minds into responsible citizens. My teacher, a paragon of wisdom and patience, has been my greatest inspiration, instilling within me a thirst for knowledge and a love for learning.

The Epitome of Patience

Patience is the hallmark of my teacher’s persona. I have observed her dealing with the most challenging situations with an unruffled calmness. She has the ability to transform complex concepts into simple, digestible information. This patience is not confined to the academic realm alone. She extends it to understanding the unique personality of each student, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses, and guiding them accordingly. Her patience has taught me the importance of perseverance and resilience, shaping my approach towards challenges in life.

A Source of Motivation

My teacher is a constant source of motivation. Her passion for teaching and dedication to her profession is infectious. She has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, which she passes on to her students. Her words of encouragement have always been a source of strength to me, pushing me to strive for excellence. She has shown me that learning is not a destination, but a journey of discovery, exploration, and enlightenment.

The Power of Empathy

Empathy, a virtue often overlooked, is another quality I admire in my teacher. She has the ability to understand the emotional state of her students, providing comfort and guidance during difficult times. This empathetic approach fosters a nurturing and inclusive environment in the classroom, allowing students to express themselves freely. Her empathy has inspired me to be more understanding and compassionate towards others.

Beyond the academic sphere, my teacher has instilled in me the importance of ethical values. Honesty, integrity, respect for others, and self-discipline are some of the values that she emphasizes. She leads by example, demonstrating these values in her interactions with students and colleagues. These lessons have been instrumental in shaping my character and guiding my actions.

Conclusion: A Lasting Impact

The influence of a good teacher can never be erased. My teacher, through her knowledge, patience, motivation, empathy, and moral teachings, has left an indelible mark on my life. She has not just taught me academic lessons, but also life lessons that I will carry with me throughout my journey. She is more than just a teacher; she is my inspiration, my guiding star leading me towards knowledge and wisdom. In the words of Henry Adams, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

In conclusion, my teacher has played an integral role in my personal and academic development. Her influence extends beyond the classroom, shaping my values, attitudes, and outlook on life. She is, indeed, my greatest inspiration.

That’s it! I hope the essay helped you.

If you’re looking for more, here are essays on other interesting topics:

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  • Effective Teaching Strategies

The Best Ways to Inspire Your Students to Learn Science

  • November 22, 2019
  • Alison Rogers

Isaac Newton first conceptualized the idea of gravity when an apple fell on his head. This moment was simple, but inspirational—with a huge impact on scientific progress to come. Answers of great importance such as this can originate in the simplest of questions: why, what, when and where? These questions are what begin a student’s journey into the complicated world of scientific discovery. But what are the best ways to inspire a student to learn science?

Get Creative

Do you remember that one teacher who made you feel engaged and inspired in class? Individual teaching professionals can make a difference. If students are struggling in science, suggesting they hire a tutor outside the classroom is a fantastic way to reinforce learning. Science is a very common subject for tutoring. By seeking an alternative approach to learning, students can understand science from multiple perspectives which can improve exam results.

Question, Question, and Question?

Teaching students to evaluate scientific concepts critically puts them in good stead for entering a career within science. Since all great discoveries have begun with one unanswerable question, this can help foster a scientific mind, especially for students in their college years.

Research has indicated that students perform better on tests where the professor actively asks questions about concepts. By triggering their natural curiosity, this prepares your student and fosters their ability to learn; positively engaging them and allowing them to learn new factual information.

Learning Styles

Learning styles are heavily debated within the field of developmental psychology, yet Neil Fleming has categorized learning styles into three main categories: visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. Fleming and Baume (2006) stated that VARK, an optimized questionnaire, can identify the specific learning styles of a student and thus, the teacher can adapt to the student. For example, this could be reinforced with visual diagrams clearly explaining a biological process.

College programs have been reinvented over the years, especially within science, to accommodate kinesthetic learners through the medium of lab practicals. Additionally, visual and auditory learning is targeted by ensuring lectures are available online for revision and learning purposes.

Motivation to Attend

Class attendance is deemed to be the most apparent predictor of exam pass rates for students. Kassarnig et al., (2017 ) collected data on 1000 undergraduate students and reported a significant correlation between those achieving (p < 0.001) Grade A (U.S. grading system) with an average attendance of 80%. Concurrently, students achieving the worst grade, Grade F (US grading system), averaged an attendance of 40%, varying between the 20% and 60% percentiles. However, the variance of participation was reported to be more abundant within lower-achieving ranges.

Clark et al. (2017 ) examined at least 4000 college students and found that when students set tangible performance-based goals for specific core material, they did better overall; with at least a 50% achievement rate. Why is this? By convincing students to set realistic goals for an assignment, essay or end-of review test, this removes pressure and allows them to focus realistically on short-term rewards. Numerous studies have reported a positive correlation between performance-based goals and student grade attainment. Accumulatively, by getting an A+ on X assignment, for example, and an A on Y assignment, the student gains confidence in their ability. Ultimately, this aids with their final examinations since they are more likely to study and do better than non-performance goal setting students.

These are just a few ways to motivate your students in science, and it’s fairly evident that as professors, there is a big role in inspiring the young scientists of tomorrow.


Clark, Damon, et al. (2017). “Using Goals to Motivate College Students: Theory and Evidence from Field Experiments.” The National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER Working Paper No. 23638.

Fleming, N., and Baume, D. (Nov. 2006). “Learning Styles Again: VARKing Up the Right Tree!” Educational Developments , SEDA Ltd, Issue 7.4, p4-7.

Kassarnig V, Bjerre-Nielsen A, et al. (2017). “Class Attendance, Peer Similarity, and Academic Performance in a Large Field Study.” PLoS ONE , 12(11): e0187078. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0187078

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The Power of Teacher Inspiration: How Educators Shape The Future

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a great science teacher inspires essay

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The Most Important Qualities That Make a Good Teacher

July 30, 2023

Teachers significantly impact the lives of their learners. They challenge their students to confidently think outside the box and counter new challenges. 

A good teacher will also support their learners when they take in new challenges and fail. They build their confidence to try again, inspire creativity, and encourage exploration and competition. 

Teaching is not a job but a calling. It is, therefore, crucial to acquire and perfect the required skills to efficiently inspire and grow students in their classrooms. 

Good teachers model behaviors of patience, empathy, communication, and understanding. Qualities that they can help grow in their learners. 

In this article, we discuss ten qualities of good teachers that should serve as motivation if you hope to impact the lives of your learners positively. 

teacher teaching her class

The Value of a Teacher’s Role

A teacher’s role is essential not only in the education system but also later on in the lives of their students. 

You can make a difference in your student’s life by influencing everything, from educational goals to after-school success. 

Good teachers help their students reach more success, understand themselves better, and make well-thought decisions that will help them make the right choices to propel them to greater heights in life. 

To be good at your job as a teacher, you must love it. Passion is infectious; your students will feel passionate about the subject if you are passionate about it. 

Also, you can cultivate self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth in your learners in your daily interactions. 

Your interactions with your students also guide them into laying the foundation for meaningful relationships, understanding their feelings, and navigating challenging situations. 

10 Qualities of a Good Teacher

Outstanding teachers have certain qualities that make them rise above the rest of their student’s lives. Such teachers have a way of remaining in our memories no matter how far removed from our school years. 

Studies from the Economic Policy Institute show that good teachers contribute more to student achievement than learning facilities and school leadership. 

Here are our top ten qualities that make a good teacher:

1. Great communicators

When you possess excellent communication skills, you will know how to teach your subject in a learner-friendly and engaging way. 

This will, in turn, improve their understanding and achievement as it will bring you closer to them and help them present any concerns they may have regarding any learned content. 

For instance, a finance class will be easier to understand if the teacher uses everyday examples with which the students are familiar. 

2. Experts in their field

Your students will be motivated to learn if you are an expert in your field. If you love your teaching area, you will show that expertise in the classroom. 

Once you have mastered the content in your subject area, you can use different angles to explain the subject matter; hence be very resourceful when teaching. 

For instance, a math teacher can use the rows and columns in the class to enhance understanding of matrices. 

3. Collaboration

Collaboration in teaching creates a growth-based learning environment that increases student learning processes.

You should work closely with other teachers and your students if you aim for great results. 

Collaborating with other teachers helps you learn from each other, allowing you to brainstorm new ideas. This is significant in improving learner outcomes. 

A good teacher is also interested in learning from parents about their students. This equips you with an understanding of how to help your students better.

Empathy is how you understand your learner’s emotional, social, and intellectual situations. A good teacher can respond empathetically to a learner’s admirable and ugly emotions without losing focus on student learning. 

For instance, if your best student failed a test. Your first instinct might be to reprimand them and for an explanation for their poor performance. On the other hand, consider putting yourself in their situation, imagine how they are feeling, and empathize with them. 

Seek to understand how they feel about the dismal performance, what they think they did wrong, and then suggest ways to improve the result. Assure them that they have a chance to turn things around. 

When your learners feel physically, mentally, and emotionally safe, they will engage better in your subject as they feel loved and understood. 

You can grow your empathetic touch by reading books on such, taking courses on empathy, and attending seminars that build on this. 

5. Loving challenges

A great teacher loves challenges. A classroom environment is full of varied challenges; therefore, embracing them is a sure way to manage them. 

Once you love your challenges, you will teach your learners more effectively. This is because a teacher who loves challenges will grow to challenge students. Students love challenges, provided they are presented in a kind spirit. 

You can draw your students to love challenges by asking thought-provoking questions that get learners to think about sequencing and predictions. 

Challenging them will push them to work harder, improve, and achieve beyond their imagination. 

6. Creativity

Although not all subject areas promote creativity, they can all be taught creatively. 

For instance, a biology teacher teaching about different kinds of plants would take students to the natural habitat to exploit the topic practically. Also, a literature teacher would more creatively use film to enhance the mental correlation of a play the learners are reading as a literary text. 

A science teacher would use real solutions more creatively when teaching learners to test for bases and acids. Learners always appreciate the extra mile. 

When you creatively motivate your learners, they are motivated to do this in education and their lives after school. 

7. Constant growth 

Teachers need a growth mindset that prepares them for the classroom environment. Continuous learning will equip you with invaluable knowledge to progressively inspire your students. The growth mindset is essential because it will enable you to collaborate with your learners with the understanding that they can learn it to a higher level. 

A view that continuous growth is essential will create a love of learning and resilience in just one area. It empowers your learners to believe they can develop their abilities with brains and talents as starting points. 

The need for growth will motivate you to focus on creativity and intelligence, the two factors that result in success in both your academic and professional lives. 

8. Patience

When managing learners, your patience is constantly tested. You will also deal with learners, parents, and colleagues with differing perspectives, backgrounds, and characters. This requires patience. 

For instance, with your learners and their parents, you must be patient in repeatedly dealing with the same questions and issues.

Also, some of your learners will have difficulties understanding various concepts; it’s essential that you keep going but should continuously try out new ways of helping them succeed. 

9. Adaptability

Your environment as a teacher is constantly evolving. This demands that you continually adapt to the constant changes and adjust your teaching methods to suit the age and intellect of your learners. 

Also, with the continuously changing educational frameworks, being able to adopt those changes makes you a good teacher. 

Adaptability is also one of the essential skills that you will require if you are educating learners of varying grade levels or those with different learning styles. 

10. Respect

Many educators imply respect, but few understand how to use it in the classroom. 

As a good teacher, you must be mindful of any imbalance in respect and ensure that your students feel respected and heard. 

In stories from American Teacher Week , Maggie remembers her seventh-grade language teacher for the respect she fostered and reflected on her students. The feeling that her teacher valued and respected each of them taught her a valuable lesson about the significance of fostering the respect you demand.

students and teacher planning

Desired Classroom Skills

Besides the teaching and communication skills you should possess as a good teacher, excellent class management skills are critical.  

Some of the desired class management skills include:

  • Setting high but achievable expectations for your students – You can do this by teaching them about growth mindsets. They should believe that success is within their control. Reinforce in them daily that they can succeed if they put in the effort. 
  • Good planning skills – With good planning skills, you will help students identify their goals and guide them in deciding what their priority is. Teach them how to plan their learning by breaking their tasks into steps to make them more manageable. Teaching learners how to plan will also eliminate uncertainty in the mind, which in most learners results in procrastination. 
  • Creating a sense of community- A sense of community will create a social connection and a sense of belonging among your learners. You can establish this community within your students by consistently holding class meetings every morning to focus on building social and emotional skills and establishing relationships among them. 

Common Weaknesses of Teachers

Teachers, even the most experienced, are helpful with some weaknesses. Every teacher would like to see themselves as being perfect, but admitting that we are all flawed in different ways is the first step to becoming better teachers tomorrow. 

Here are some common weaknesses in teachers: 


Making mistakes is a normal part of human life. Perfectionism is a fear-based pattern whose short-term rewards are getting the job done and exceeding expectations. Its long-term effects, however, include burnout, compromised quality of work, and missed deadlines. 

Being afraid to make mistakes primes us for burnout and overwhelms us with fear, factors that distort our functioning as teachers. 

Dealing with others as a perfectionist is challenging since you will always want them to do things your way, allowing little room for the ideas and imperfections of others. 

Perfectionism also prevents you from taking constructive criticism from colleagues who may want to share relevant observations on your interaction. 

Though no one is perfect, some teachers seem to have it together, and this may be the basis for our comparison. Comparison can hinder your success as a teacher if you are constantly comparing yourself with colleagues you view as perfect. 

Learning helpful hints and new ideas from teachers with the strengths we would like to possess would help you overcome comparison.

For instance, if a colleague is better at relating with learners and they look up to her more for guidance, instead of getting all jealous and bitter at her, seek to know what she does differently to get the students to open up to her. 


If you are a spontaneous teacher, you act without planning but will rely on previous experience teaching diverse classes and using different approaches to teaching. 

Spontaneity in learning is not all bad, as it helps adjust the power imbalances in a typical classroom. Spontaneous teaching, however, can have some adverse effects on learning. This can result in a lack of structure to your lesson and poor lesson organization. It may also limit your degree of learner assessment of learner progress and achievement. 

To avoid the adverse effects of spontaneity, find a balance between flexibility and structure in the lesson. Consider the individual learner’s needs and learning abilities when deciding on the instructional method. 

Becoming a Good Teacher

A chosen path can guide you into becoming a better teacher. Many specialties are available, so knowing what grade you want to teach and what subject area you are passionate about is essential. 

Here are some steps to take toward becoming a good teacher. 

Bachelor’s Degree 

A bachelor’s degree is crucial to becoming a good teacher. Though most states will require a bachelor’s degree in education, alternative routes to licensure are also available. 

 It will allow you to learn essential skills that will help you become a better teacher. Such include:

  • Cognitive skills : A degree program grows your ability to recall, integrate, and analyze information. You will be able to foster critical and creative thinking skills that guide fluency, originality, flexibility, and adaptability in developing and adjusting to learner programs. 
  • Communication skills: Acquiring communication skills enables you to interact and collaborate effectively with your learners in delivering and assessing knowledge acquisition. Efficient communication is necessary when also engaging with students’ families and colleagues. 
  • Research skills: The skills to initiate and complete data collection concerning learner performance and curricula are essential in effective instruction. A bachelor’s degree program will guide you into effectively demonstrating, considering consequences, information presentation, and record keeping. 
  • Social skills: A good teacher is sensitive to ethical and integral processes of establishing functional relationships with all the school community members. The program will develop compassion, empathy, interpersonal skills, and internal motivation, skills you will require to impact your learners and effectively relate with your colleagues positively. 

Here is a list of some bachelor’s degrees that would guide you into initial certification as a teacher:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education
  • Bachelor of Special Ed. and Elementary Education
  • Bachelor of Special Education (mild to moderate)
  • Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education (middle grades)
  • Bachelor of Science in Science Education (Secondary Biological Science)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music Education
  • Bachelor of Science in STEM Education

Master’s Degree

Besides attaining a bachelor’s degree, aspiring teachers should also think about acquiring a master’s degree. A master’s degree will upgrade your knowledge and help you learn more about your subject area. You will also acquire more effective ways of curriculum instruction. 

Teaching Certification

To get hired after completing your degree program, getting certified to teach in the state where you are interested in teaching is essential. 

Getting certified gives you credibility as a teacher and is one of the states’ quality measures for hiring teachers. 

Most states will therefore require teachers to have certificates to teach. 

Teachers are crucial in changing lives, inspiring dreams, and pushing individuals to realize their potential. Teachers educate the next generation, promoting positive attitudes that shape society. 

Middle School Teacher Salary in Texas in 2023

July 30, 2023 by bryan

a great science teacher inspires essay

Texas Teachers Certification Areas

Texas teachers currently offers 50+ certification areas:.

  • Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources 6–12 (272)
  • American Sign Language (ASL) (184)
  • Art EC–12 (178)
  • Bilingual Education Supplemental (164)
  • Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test (BTLPT) Spanish (190)
  • Business and Finance 6–12 (276)
  • Chemistry 7–12 (240)
  • Computer Science 8–12 (241)
  • Core Subjects EC-6 (291)
  • Core Subjects 4–8 (211)
  • Dance 6–12 (279)
  • English as a Second Language Supplemental (154)
  • English Language Arts and Reading 4–8 (117)
  • English Language Arts and Reading 7–12 (231)
  • English Language Arts and Reading/Social Studies 4–8 (113)
  • Family and Consumer Sciences EC-12 (200)
  • Health EC–12 (157)
  • Health Science 6–12 (273)
  • History 7–12 (233)
  • Journalism 7–12 (256)
  • Languages Other Than English (LOTE) Arabic EC–12 (600 & 605)
  • Languages Other Than English (LOTE) French EC–12 (610)
  • Languages Other Than English (LOTE) German EC–12 (611)
  • Languages Other Than English (LOTE) Latin EC–12 (612)
  • Languages Other Than English (LOTE) Japanese EC–12 (602 & 607)
  • Languages Other Than English (LOTE) Mandarin Chinese EC–12 (601 & 606)
  • Languages Other Than English (LOTE) Russian EC–12 (603 & 608)
  • Languages Other Than English (LOTE) Spanish EC–12 (613)
  • Languages Other Than English (LOTE) Vietnamese EC–12 (604 & 609)
  • Life Science 7–12 (238)
  • Marketing 6–12 (275)
  • Mathematics 4–8 (115)
  • Mathematics 7–12 (235)
  • Mathematics/Physical Science/Engineering 6–12 (274)
  • Mathematics/Science 4–8 (114)
  • Music EC–12 (177)
  • Physical Education EC–12 (158)
  • Physical Science 6–12 (237)
  • Physics/Mathematics 7–12 (243)
  • Science 4–8 (116)
  • Science 7–12 (236)
  • Social Studies 4–8 (118)
  • Social Studies 7–12 (232)
  • Special Education EC–12 (161)
  • Speech 7–12 (129)
  • Technology Applications EC–12 (242)
  • Technology Education 6–12 (171)
  • Texas Assessment of Sign Communication–American Sign Language™ (TASC–ASL™) (073)
  • Theatre EC–12 (180)
  • Trade and Industrial (T&I)

a great science teacher inspires essay

British Council

How can teachers inspire children in science class, by rhys phillips, 25 april 2014 - 09:30.

'Children always love demonstrations involving the plasma sphere.' Photo (c) Hervé BRY, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 and adapted from the original.

Hervé BRY, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 and adapted from the original .

Children love technology, but what do they know about the science behind it?  Rhys Phillips , who recently delivered a series of workshops in France for the British Council as part of the Science in Schools programme, is a research engineer and a radio broadcaster. He explains how teachers can amaze and inspire.

What is your view on the way science is taught in schools?

If children leave a science class feeling inspired and able to see the relevance of science to the real world, then the class has been taught well. Some teachers make a huge effort to inspire their pupils by coming up with inventive ways of teaching, and using real-life examples to show how science is part of everyday life — but others don’t. Children often don’t realise the range of available scientific careers and have narrow views about what being a ‘scientist’ means. In many cases, they only picture somebody working in a laboratory, wearing a white lab coat and glasses.

Yet the worlds of science and engineering are actually full of interesting and exciting jobs. Scientists and engineers around the world are discovering how the universe was formed. Many are working on treatments for deadly diseases, others are developing new technology and ensuring that our lives on this planet are as good as they can be. Very few people realise that my job — designing ways to protect aircraft against lightning strikes — even exists. If teachers can incorporate knowledge and awareness of these sorts of roles into their lessons, we are more likely to see a bigger uptake in science and engineering, thus helping to secure the future of the next generation. This is why the need for science workshops such as those provided by the ‘Science in Schools’ programme exists.

Do children love technology but hate science?

Most children and teenagers love technology — as do most adults, I think. It has become such an important part of our everyday lives that most people cannot imagine being without their mobile phone, for example. Some might argue that children are not interested in science, but I don’t think this is true at all. They might not enjoy science lessons at school, but that’s something very different. Besides, younger children often say that science is one of their favourite subjects in their early years of education. Something changes later on when teachers introduce more complex concepts. They move away from ‘fun’ experiments to teaching theory — something that seems less relevant to the real world.

What has most surprised you about the reaction of children to your workshops?

In my workshops, I explain the science behind my job in a one-hour interactive performance. After that, I talk about my other job as a radio presenter. The class then create their own radio news bulletins covering the science they’ve just been hearing about. I think the thing I’ve been most surprised about when running these workshops is the high level of English displayed by the children. In the workshops, they not only need to understand English but also use it in both the written and oral forms later on. Some classes have managed to include a lot of humour in their bulletins, which to me is a really good sign of understanding the language. I’m also impressed by how enthusiastically children embrace the tasks set for them.

What scientific facts are guaranteed to amaze children in one of your workshops?

The workshop contains several interesting facts: ‘every aircraft is struck by lightning on average once per year’ and ‘a lightning bolt has a temperature that is hotter than the surface of the sun’ are two of my favourites. The children always love the demonstrations involving the plasma sphere too. We use this twice – once to demonstrate why planes are struck by lightning in the first place and then again to demonstrate the potential interference from lightning on radio equipment on board the aircraft.

The next  Science in Schools  workshops, which look at contributions to science from the Muslim world, are  in Poitiers  on 12-16 May 2014.

Find  Rhys on Twitter  or visit his  website .

You might also be interested in:

  • Everyone should have the chance to learn about science
  • What's the science behind a smile?

View the discussion thread.

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    By convincing students to set realistic goals for an assignment, essay or end-of review test, this removes pressure and allows them to focus realistically on short-term rewards. Numerous studies have reported a positive correlation between performance-based goals and student grade attainment. Accumulatively, by getting an A+ on X assignment ...

  19. Essay About Science Teacher

    Essay About Science Teacher. 720 Words3 Pages. My earliest memories about science teachers are probably just getting into middle school around the 6th grade. I remember having a crazy science teacher do would sprinkle us with magic fairy dust to help us learn better but, my class going from elementary school to middle school was a big deal for ...

  20. The Power of Teacher Inspiration: How Educators Shape The Future

    In conclusion, teachers are an essential part of our society, and their impact on their students' lives cannot be overstated. Teachers inspire their students in many ways, from their passion for teaching to their ability to create a positive and inclusive classroom environment. They provide their students with opportunities to explore and discover new things, set high expectations, and ...

  21. The Great Teacher Inspires

    This I believe, I believe that teachers can inspire each and every one of us, and believe in us when we don't believe in ourselves. In fourth grade, I was at a very awkward stage. I had bad vision and out-of-date glasses to match, and parts of my body were maturing faster than the rest of the girls. I was often ridiculed and made fun of.

  22. The Most Important Qualities That Make a Good Teacher

    July 30, 2023. Teachers significantly impact the lives of their learners. They challenge their students to confidently think outside the box and counter new challenges. A good teacher will also support their learners when they take in new challenges and fail. They build their confidence to try again, inspire creativity, and encourage ...

  23. How can teachers inspire children in science class?

    Some teachers make a huge effort to inspire their pupils by coming up with inventive ways of teaching, and using real-life examples to show how science is part of everyday life — but others don't. Children often don't realise the range of available scientific careers and have narrow views about what being a 'scientist' means.